Hon. Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera
I assumed as the Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife on 07/09/2015. Although the subject area of Sustainable Development is a new concept to the Sri Lanka, it has to be emphasis that the entire world is committed towards the Sustainable Development today. Sustainable Development can be simply defined as “The responsibility of protecting nature for future generations in parallel with the day to day increasing human needs with developing technologies’’.
For an example, everybody has the dream of possessing a motor car. With the purchasing of a vehicle it is generally arise the need to move from place to place. Simultaneously, pure air to breath is another factor wish to have for him and his family members. Then how we can maintain the balance between the requirements of our present and future generations with advancing technologies while protecting the nature? The balancing of the both factors of advancing technologies and protecting the nature on behalf of our future generations is the Sustainable Development.
Currently several treaties have been declared on Sustainable Development jointly by the United Nations Organization as well as several global organizations. 17 policies which should be implemented in the entire world on policy basis by the United Nations Organization as at 2022 have been named in it. Our core function would be shouldering the responsibility of protecting our precious natural resources for our future generations while defining the scope needed for policy implementation. Accordingly, under the guidance of Hon. President Maithripala Sirisena and Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe several projects have been already planned.
A board comprised of intellectuals was appointed and their suggestions and ideas are obtaining for the purpose of Sustainable Development. Protecting of nature is not only my own task but it is a responsibility of all of us. I wish to launch and implement several policies and responsibilities aiming at environmental conservation and Sustainable Development in near future. I believed those measures would help to implement the United Nations’ treaties as well as bring the Sustainable Development for our future generations in parallel with the technologies developing day by day.
Other than the subject area of Sustainable Development the main responsibility come under my purview is protecting wildlife resources. Department of Wildlife Conservation, National Zoological Gardens and National Botanical Gardens come Under the Ministry of Wildlife. Functions of the Department of Wildlife has become a most concerned subject area in the country. The biggest challenge in front of the Department of wildlife and me is resolving the Human – Elephant Conflict and conservation of National Parks and wildlife. I have appointed a board comprised of eminent intellectuals in the field in order to make proposals on mitigating elephant – human conflict and future development activities of the Department of Wildlife Conservation. I Would prepare the future development schedule based on the project reports prepared by them.
Although electric fences are in operation as a solution to the Human – Elephant Conflict according to my own experience, I have recommended to make a live fence comprised of Palmyra and lime plants. Currently this concept is in progress at several places of the island. It is pathetic to state that human lives as well as our elephant resource, which is a national pride of our country is destroying day by day due to elephant human conflict. Therefore, I have launched a new emergency hotline 1992 to rapidly take actions by wildlife official when a wild elephant entered in to a village. I have taken measures to open for National Parks within the period of two months. Those places are special elephant retention center at Horrowpothana, Anuradhapura and Kalawewa, Pallekale National Parks, and Sandagiriya National Parks. Similarly, I have introduced several development measures to the Department of National Zoological Gardens and Department of National Botanical Gardens. Accordingly, feeding of milk to baby elephants by the tourists was temporally stopped until the medical approval is given. I also hope to subjected to transform the Zoological Gardens in future where animals can freely roam.
I have also adviced to implement a special program at Hakgala and Peradeniya Botanical garden for the benefit of tourists. I am happy to inform that above instructions and development programs are already being implemented and my goal is to make suitable background required to double the income annually all the departments within next five years. My solemn wish is to make a conducive environment required to sustainable development of this country and its future generations as well.
Gamini Jayawickrama Perera
Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife